Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 30: July 25, 2011

We cycled 94 km from Akureyri to Varmahlid today. Before leaving Akureyri, I stopped by SportVer, where the kind manager/mechanic gave my bike a free, much-needed tune-up. We began riding at 11 am, knowing that we would not arrive at our destination until early evening.

As we stopped for a lunch break by the road early in the ride, a car pulled to a stop behind us. Out jumped Gerda and Siggi, a friendly couple from Reykjavik, and several of their kids. They heard about our ride on the local news when we started last month, and had been keeping up with our blog. It was fun to chat with them, since they knew all our stories! They generously offered us a place to stay when we reach Reykjavik at the end of our ride and warned me about upcoming hills on today's route. I tried to convince their oldest son to stay behind and help us pedal, but he was too smart to fall for that one.

Today's route followed a picturesque valley, the road running beside a gurgling, pristine mountain stream. An unbroken line of towering mountains hemmed us in on both sides, shrouded in low clouds and dotted with pockets of snow. Much of the ride was rolling or flat, but there was one long, challenging climb up 10% grade for 5 km or so. Sho and I worked hard to pedal the heavily laden bikes up the mountain, and although it was misty and cool, soon beads of sweat began dripping off my face. I pedaled while standing from time to time to gain greater force and to give my aching back a change from seated climbing.

Sho suddenly said, "Daddy, your butt is hot."

Breathing hard, I managed a snarky response, "Thanks. I've been taking butt sculpting classes at the gym."

Sho responded seriously, "No, I mean your butt is actually hot. Every time you stand up, steam rises from your seat. It's cool!"

We made it to Vermahlid at 7 pm, the site of a wonderful reunion! My wife Eiko and her niece Arisa were waiting for us. It was the first time that Sho, Saya and I had seen Eiko in 5 weeks, and we were all giddy and talking over one another in our excitement. We got a room in a local farm and ate a delicious dinner in Hotel Vermahild. Famished from the long, challenging ride, I ate everyone's leftovers.

Here are some pics:

The manager/mechanic at SportVer in Akireyri who gave my bike a free tune-up:

View from the road:

Our new friends, Gerda and Siggi:

More pics from the road:

The start of a challenging climb:


Arisa and Eiko reading special gift cards from Saya:

View from Vermahlid:

Arisa with web page highlighting her as a finalist for "Miss Keio", an honor she received from her university in Japan:

This what happens when cousins get together:

- An Iceland Bike Adventure post

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